Piracy is at its lowest level for five years, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
A total of 297 ships were attacked in 2012, compared with 439 in 2011.
A big drop in Somali piracy brought the figure down, according to the IMB, with 75 vessels reporting attacks, compared to 237 the year before.
West and East Africa remained the most dangerous areas worldwide, with 150 attacks last year.
Gunmen managed to board 174 vessels globally, with 28 of those being hijacked and 28 fired on.
There were also 67 attempted attacks recorded.
The number of hostages seized fell to 585 from 802 in 2011, while a further 26 were kidnapped for ransom in Nigeria.
Six crew died and 32 were injured or assaulted.
“IMB’s piracy figures show a welcome reduction in hijackings and attacks to ships. But crews must remain vigilant, particularly in the highly dangerous waters off East and West Africa,” the IMB irector captain Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB.
Somali hijackings were cut to 14 from 28 in 2011.
The IMB warned that if navies were withdrawn from piracy hotspots, the downward trend could easily reverse.
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